Self-Love Defined by Tiffany Patton
Self-Love is defined by Webster’s Dictionary as a regard for one's own well-being and happiness that is chiefly considered a desirable rather than narcissistic characteristic. However, I would like to define “true” self-love as the true understanding of God’s love (for God is love) for you and what He says concerning you. This understanding equips you to walk in the fullness of who you are and empowers you to unapologetically live life without compromising who He says you are.
The first step in loving oneself is to become transparent with yourself, then with God. This is the step that most people run from. See, I was frustrated in a relationship that wasn’t meeting my true wants and desires. Which is funny, because I’m not sure how I could’ve ever thought being in a relationship with a married man could fulfill me. I had to wonder why I stayed in this relationship once I became aware that he was married. See, when the appearance of love showed up, no matter how flawed, the lack of self-love allowed me to enter into a relationship that the enemy had designed to steal, kill, and destroy who God had called me to be.
I was being called to heal, deliver, set free, and love others, yet I myself was bound by sin. But, God! One day I became tired of this state, and I cried out to God and gave him everything. I was extremely raw and transparent about the situations that I didn’t know how to deal with or let go of. (No need to hide from God, the One who knows it all anyways!) Areas within me that only God could reach, God began to touch and replace the lies that the enemy told me through the actions and words of others with His words (ex. “I am beautifully and wonderfully made,” “I am a royal priesthood and a chosen generation”). I had to understand that although people might reject me, God would never leave me nor forsake me. It didn’t matter if they did, because God chose me! His love is unconditional! I had to understand that God’s best was who He designed me to be.
The second part, the hardest part, was digging deeper to discover how I even got there. As I searched within, I found many areas of healing that needed to take place, areas where healing had began but residue remained, places where I had been hemorrhaging that had spilled over into other areas. I had been molested for six years by not one but two cousins, and I found residual unforgiveness towards my body for betraying me and beginning to enjoy what was being done to me. Also, I found leftover pain and trauma from when my first boyfriend was shot and killed by his dad, six months to the date of my dreaming it. And being abandoned, rejected, and left to take care of my daughter by myself, then losing my mother to breast cancer, all had left innumerable wounds within me.
All this to say, we can each miss the mark when we don’t make loving ourselves through Christ the priority! We must each be willing to come to face-to-face with “our” truth, the areas of ourselves that we never want to face or address. Then, we have to look in the Word of God and find out what God says about it. Above all else, understanding His love for us is key. His word says that there isn’t anything we can do, nothing, that will separate us from his love (Romans 8:35-39).
That’s powerful in itself! Once we are willing to take the first step of transparency and revelation, then we can begin the second step to self-love: acceptance.
Tiffany Patton is the Host and Executive Producer of the nationally-syndicated podcast On the Go with Tiffany Patton, which can be heard on IHeartradio, Spotify, iTunes, and all Amazon Alexa products.